PRESIDENT OF CUBA Miguel Diaz-Canel (centre), gives two thumbs up to Prime Minister Dr Ralph (left), after inspecting the uniformed groups gathered at the Argyle International Airport to greet him on Saturday.
Front Page
December 6, 2022
SVG reaffirms its commitment to Cuba (+Video)

THE OFFICIAL three-day visit by the President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel and his delegation concluded with St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) pledging to fortify the relationship with Cuba.

At a special sitting of the House of Assembly yesterday, Monday December 5, Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves delivered a history lesson on the diplomatic relations between both countries which he noted, has grown by “leaps and bounds” since it was established 30 years ago.

He said it has expanded to include assistance in education, health, agriculture, energy, sports and culture and has benefited Vincentians from all corners of the nation.

“The Vision Now programme saw thousands of Vincentians of all walks of life being transported to Cuba for eye care, including corrective surgeries, all at no cost to our people.”

From the floor of the House, Gonsalves denounced the decades long economic embargo against Cuba set in place by the US in 1962 under the then President, John F. Kennedy.

As recently as June 2021, more than 180 countries voted at the United Nations General Assembly to end the economic embargo, making it the 29th consecutive year that the group has voted in favour of this resolution.

“It is high time that the USA affect an appropriate rapprochement with Cuba on the basis of mutual respect and dignity, as befitting the peoples and governments of two great countries, Cuba and the United States of America,” Gonsalves said.

“Such an event will greatly please St. Vincent and Grenadines. After all, we are friends of all and we strive for a better world.”

The Prime Minister also reiterated his position on the claim that Cuba is engaged in human trafficking under its healthcare migrant programme where doctors, nurses and other professionals travel abroad for work.

PRESIDENT OF CUBA, Miguel Diaz-Canel (forefront left), greets Opposition Leader Dr Godwin Friday outside the House of Assembly, while Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves (centre) looks on.

“SVG considers it unacceptable international law and immoral for the United States of America to label the Cuban internationalist brigades of doctors, nurses, engineers and other professionals to be victims of human trafficking.

“In this absurd way the USA unwittingly devalues the genuine fight against human trafficking globally,”a point which the PM made while touring the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre at Georgetown.

He said the government will not allow its foreign policy in relation to Cuba to be determined by the USA, adding that “St.Vincent and Grenadines reaffirms its commitment to fortifying Cuba and St.Vincent and Grenadines relations in every material particular.”

PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves (left) presenting President Miguel Diaz- Canel with a Calvert Jones painting of Raul Castro

Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Godwin Friday, in his address in the House commended the government and people of Cuba for their “exemplary generosity” to countries of the region, especially in the area of medical support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday noted that the ties between the two nations “go back decades to a time when such relations were questioned by others as not being in our best interests”.

He said the commitment shown to preserve diplomatic relations has benefited St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) significantly.

“With limited resources, you have done far more for us than many friendly countries of greater means. We will not forget that.”

The Opposition Leader also pointed to the exchange of skills and medical training between Cuba and SVG as one of the highlights of the relationship between the two nations.